Areas of Specialization

Finding your areas of interest.

The first two years of study for CEE at Illinois undergraduate students build the base needed for the civil and environmental engineering education: students take physics, math, chemistry, theoretical and applied mechanics, general engineering courses and electives. The last two years of study involve primarily civil and environmental engineering courses. Students elect a primary and secondary area of study from the seven areas of concentration and three interdisciplinary programs within the department. Learn more about these areas of study below.

Engineering Hall

Construction Engineering and Management

Construction engineers manage and direct construction operations. They analyze the labor, materials, and equipment for each job. Some areas of construction engineering involves the use of advanced technology such as Building Information Models and Artifical Intelligence, making this area a good fit for those also interested in computer science.  

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Construction Materials

Civil engineers are often responsible for specifying, designing and manufacturing the materials with which they build their structures.  Studies in construction materials are intended to make structural, transportation and foundation engineers aware of the fundamental properties of the materials they use. The study of materials may intersect with chemistry, materials science, structural engineering and other fields.

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Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability (EWES)

EWES is a cross-cutting program focused on providing and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water and the natural and built environment. Some areas addressed include sustainable energy production, resource recovery, sustainable waste management and emissions impacts.  

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Environmental Engineering and Science

Environmental engineers help solve problems of air, land and water contamination. They design, construct and operate systems that purify water for drinking, industrial use and recreation. They develop and implement air-purification devices and protocols for solid and hazardous waste management. These engineers are tackling some of the most pressing issues facing society.

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Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineers use soil, rock and geosynthetics as engineering materials. They design earth- and rock-filled dams, tunnels, landfills and foundations for structures of all types. Geotechnical engineers might find themselves working on varied projects such as deep excavations, earthquake engineering, developing geothermal energy systems and analyzing post-disaster slope stability.

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Engineering Hall

Societal Risk and Hazard Mitigation (SRHM)

The cross-cutting SRHM program focuses on the development of a secure and safe society. Topics include risk determination, risk evaluation and risk management for natural and human-made hazards, disaster response and recovery, performance assessment of deteriorating systems, the legal elements of regulatory mechanisms and more.

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Structural Engineering

Structural engineers design economical structures that resist forces induced by wind, earthquakes, blasts and heavy traffic. The tools of the structural engineer include physical testing, mathematical modeling and computer simulation. CEE at Illinois structural engineers have designed projects ranging from the tallest building in the world to the longest floating bridge to renovations of iconic baseball parks.

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Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems (SRIS)

The interdisciplinary SRIS program prepares students to be leaders in planning, design and management of sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems and their interactions. Graduates of this program are especially well-suited for work in government and labs, consulting engineering firms and industry, advocacy organizations, and in academia.

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Transportation Engineering

Transportation engineers design, build, operate and maintain all types of facilities for railroads, automobiles, airplanes and ships.  They deal with such problems as moving millions of people in and out of cities at rush hour, moving carloads of wheat from the fields of Kansas to the port of New Orleans, improving pavements and transportation materials, and the development of autonomous vehicles and associated systems.

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Water Resources Engineering and Science (WRES)

Water resource engineers help solve complex water challenges, including providing society with safe and reliable water supplies, managing impacts of floods and drought, and enhancing environmental quality. WRES prepares students for the planning, design and operation of surface and ground water systems, preservation and enhancement of the river and watershed environment, design of water control facilities, and resource conservation. 

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DATA SCIENCE AND COMPUTING IN CEE

Big data, artificial intelligence and computational skills are becoming increasingly important in several CEE disciplines. While CEE's core curriculum involves development of technical skills for all students, we also offer an undergraduate certificate and M.S. track for students who are interested in developing additional expertise in data science within the context of civil and environmental engineering.  

Sample undergraduate schedule:

All engineering students will work with an academic adviser to develop a schedule that meets their educational goals. What does a typical 4-year schedule look like for Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate students? Note: visit Grainger Engineering's Civil Engineering Curriculum Map for a more detailed sample schedule.

First Semester:

  • Introduction to Project-Based Learning (CEE 190)
  • Chemistry (CHEM 102, CHEM 103)
  • Engineering 100 (ENG 100)
  • Calculus (MATH 221)
  • Writing, Research, Design (RHET 105, SE 101)

Second Semester:

  • Chemistry (CHEM 104, CHEM 105)
  • Introduction to Computing (CS 101)
  • Calculus (MATH 231)
  • Physics (PHYS 211)
  • Writing, Research, Design (SE 101, RHET 105)

First Semester:

  • Systems Engineering & Economics (CEE 201)
  • Calculus (MATH 241)
  • Physics (PHYS 212)
  • Statics (TAM 211)
  • Introductory Matrix Theory (MATH 225)

Second Semester:

  • Engineering Risk & Uncertainty (CEE 202)
  • Physics (PHYS 213)
  • Introductory Dynamics (TAM 212)
  • Introductory Solid Mechanics (TAM 251)
  • Electives

First Semester:

  • Introductory Fluid Mechanics (TAM 335)
  • Civil Engineering Core Courses
  • General Education Elective
  • Science Electives

Second Semester:

  • Intro Differential Equations (MATH 285)
  • Civil Engineering Core Courses
  • Advanced Composition
  • Advanced Technical Electives
  • General Education Elective

First Semester:

  • Professional Practice (CEE 495)
  • Civil Engineering Core Courses
  • Advanced Technical Electives
  • General Education Elective

Second Semester:

  • Free Electives
  • General Education Elective
  • Advanced Technical Electives

Ready to apply?

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Questions?

Undergraduate Admissions

Becky Stillwell, Senior Academic Adviser: rborden@illinois.edu

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions team: civil@illinois.edu